Gold Hill open for business

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

By Robin M. Perry
For the Salisbury Post
Gold Hill is rising. Vivian Hopkins, owner of the E.H.Montgomery General Store, told that to a group of school children, and retirees touring the village.
She was referring to the Gold Hill fault line that is on an elevated plane pushing Gold Hill up a fraction of a centimeter every year. It is also rising in popularity — every building is occupied now by a variety of distinctive shops with equally interesting owners.
What is it that is bringing folks into this village to start businesses — in an unusually tough economy?
“We happened to find it and fell in love with the community,” says Lindsey Pless, who along with husband, Henry, owns Bakery, Baskets and Gifts. They opened their shop in an old miners’ cabin that was moved into the village from a property a mile away. Selling home baked items such as cookies, cakes, pies, breads and candy is their specialty. She also makes delicious strawberry jam — getting ready to make a new batch this spring with fresh strawberries from the garden within site of the shop. Citrus soda pound cake is made by Henry, and we got a taste — very delicious.
Sandi and John Hickman visited Gold Hill last April. They lived in Kingsport, Tenn. They were looking to return to Mt. Pleasant area where Sandi’s mother lived. “We found a house in Gold Hill on the internet and “fell in love with it,” says Sandi. The shop came with it.
“I went from grading AP essays as a teacher in Tennessee to maintaining a gift shop, (appropriately called, Back Home) here in Gold Hill,” she explains. They love the quaint and friendly atmosphere in Gold Hill. The shop has some consignments, gifts and craftsmen items including handmade pottery, braided rugs and wood carvings by Salisbury artist, Nerv Parks.
Fred Kessler brought his metal craft work to Gold Hill two years ago, selling animals and other critters all made from steel. His work evolved from his cutting animals and plants out of scrap steel left over from building boats years ago. His Kung Fu Frog and Momma Possum Going on a Road Trip (a possum with five babies hanging on her tail) are fun. You can find dogs, cats, owls and giant ‘skeeters (mosquito) in his quaint cabin shop too. “I love this village and the people here,” he said. “We are neighbors in the old sense of the word, it is fun with lots of history too,” he adds. “Gold Hill time moves a little slower,” he says with a smile.
Jane Jarrett is the newest “neighbor” in the village as she opened Jane’s Thangs in the Little Log Cabin the first weekend in April. “We visited on Sundays and on a visit in February, learned of the little log cabin coming available,” she said. She signed a lease to open her shop full of quilts, crochet table cloths and other creative items made from all sorts of fabrics. “This supports my fabric habit,” she says.
She loves fabric and re-purposing. The curtains in her shop were made from the quilt piece table runners she used for her wedding reception last year. The skirt she had on was made from an old quilt and she even sells quilt kits such as the Rose Garden pattern, circa 1920.
For the upcoming holidays honoring mothers and fathers, she is working on patchwork flower pots and bird houses covered in patriotic patterned fabric. She is open Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
The love of antiques and an earlier simple way of life motivated Norm Fuquay to open Primitive Souls, in another welcoming log building that was once a slave’s cabin. She sells handmade primitive and rustic furniture. “We like to give a little taste of what the past was like, when there was country,” she says.
The Indigo Tea Market is in a home that was once located on a farm, with cows living inside of it. Today it is a cozy house where you can buy any type of tea imaginable, plus all the necessities for brewing and sit in the parlor or out in the garden for a peaceful break. Linda and Billy Dean opened the tea house and the adjacent glass shop which offers stained glass, jewelry, pottery and hand crafted knives. The tea house is also available for parties, business meetings or Bible studies. The Dean’s also own the Stamp Mill Café. They too fell in love with Gold Hill after the first visit, the people and community they experience there.
The first store in Gold Hill was Mauney’s Store, built in 1840 when the gold mines were most productive. Jodi Davis, manager explained that at one time Gold Hill was home to some 23 gold mines, 26 saloons, eight brothels and four doctors. “The Mayor of Charlotte back then said that he hoped Charlotte would be as big as Gold Hill some day,” Jodi explained. The store sat idle for some 60 years, and after being severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and was scheduled to be bulldozed. Thanks to three days of rain, the bulldozing was called off, and the building was restored. Today it has a fine selection of antiques, gifts and home décor, and you can hear a story or two about Gold Hill’s past. E.H. Montgomery general store was the other original store where you can find artwork, souvenirs, ice cream and local honey. Educational tours are also available here. Every Friday night the store hosts blue grass musicians to play and the public is invited.
Frankie Harrison runs the Gold Miner’s Daughter and she is actually the great granddaughter of a miner who came from Cornwall England to work the mines. Her shop has silk and fresh flowers and unique gifts. She also directs and coordinates all the weddings in Gold Hill. On April 30, she has four weddings scheduled there — one at the arbor, the barn, the church and the shelter at the park. These beautiful outdoor sites have become popular venues for weddings. She would like to see Gold Hill become well known for its history and ambiance.
The village of Gold Hill is rising-to a new level of charm and community where the dozen or more shop owners love their community and sharing their unique products and history with all who visit.
Check out the website to learn more about the village, its shops and the special events held every month. They are also on Facebook under Historic Village of Gold Hill.